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Lighting Our Road to the Future

Without sufficient lights on your truck, driving at night or during inclement weather would be dangerous, if not impossible. How has Grote continued to be a leader with smart visibility systems, and what life-saving steps have they taken to improve safety?

Recently we interviewed Chris Cammack, the Global Market Manager of Aftermarket at Grote

The History of Grote

When it was formed in 1901, Grote started out as a chemical company. William Grote was a chemist and sold patents to James Kodak, and his son created the system that made automated molding machines. Today over 120-years later, it’s still a family-owned business, and the Grote family operates the business with the same core values and focus on innovation.

Over the last 50-years, they have been focused on the heavy-duty and automotive industry. Today, the road is filled with cars and trucks using Grote lighting components, and the nation’s highways are safer thanks to Grote safety systems.

They are dedicated to leading the industry with their high-quality LED lights. They are both strong in the aftermarket and are thriving in the OEM as well. Getting to that level of quality didn’t just happen overnight. Grote has done and continues to do a lot of testing to make sure the fit, form, and function of their lights work properly for their customers.

A Problem with LED Lights

With the advancement of lights over the years, we have seen a big chang-over to LEDs. Although, there is one problem that has come to the surface with LEDs. They are known to build up with snow and ice. With halogens, the housing on the lens got hot enough to melt the snow or ice. With LEDs however, there was not enough heat to do that. Having snow or ice buildup on your lights can be dangerous, and life-threatening. That is why Grote came up with their heated LED headlight.

According to President and CEO, Dominic Grote, “the opening of the NGMC (Next Generation Manufacturing Center) and the launch of our first LED headlamps with Grote’s innovative de-icing technology are paving the way for Grote to become a major partner to our OEM customers.”

The new products from Grote use a mechanical heating element to take the excess wattage to heat the glass lens when the temperature drops to a certain point. In other words, the headlight will automatically detect when there is a buildup of snow or ice and melt it without the driver needing to flip a switch or anything. This solution will greatly improve vision when traveling on the roads during the winter, and help keep you and others safe.

Reducing Rear-End Collisions

There is a major problem that is costing motorists their lives. Even though Grote is working hard to lower the amount of rear-end collisions that occur each year, there are still steps that need to be taken.

“In the USA, Groendyke did a study on their own, and added an extra strobing light on the back of their tankers that strobes when the operator depresses the brake pedal to see if it would reduce the amount of rear-end collisions… The numbers came back and it reduced rear-end collisions by 33.7%. So, they got a waiver from NHTSA to add this light, based on their study… Right now, NHTSA released a waiver for any other tanker fleet to add a strobing light to the back of their trailer that strobes when you hit the brakes,” said Chris Cammack of Grote during our interview.

Grote is confident that this extra light will become a common sight to see on the back of trailers in the near future. They have also been working hard on planning ways this additional strobing brake light would be more effective. In the end, this will drastically cut down rear-end accidents, and the costs that come with it.

The Impact of Adding Additional Lighting

The average cost of an accident is $10,000 (in the heavy-duty industry it is commonly known to be higher). There are approximately 116,000 heavy-duty rear-end collisions annually. If you estimate that 3.5% of all the trailers in use right now will be in a rear-end accident, you are looking at roughly $325 million in cost. If you can reduce these accidents by 33% as the Groendyke study shows, we could be saving at least $110 million nationwide.

More importantly, these additional lights can save lives. The fewer accidents that happen, the fewer lives that will be lost. However, lights can’t do it all. Most rear-end collisions are caused by distracted driving.

In fact, about 60% of all rear-end collisions are because people are on their phones. To make these lights as effective as possible, and to protect each and every one of us, we need to make sure we’re focused on the road.


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Author: Taron H.

Taron is the Marketing Manager at The Heavy-Duty Parts Report.

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